BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 1 LSU scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 21-14 lead over No. 3 Arkansas on Friday at Tiger Stadium.
Here’s a quick halftime analysis:
Turning point: Arkansas was driving in LSU territory late in the second quarter when running back Dennis Johnson fumbled the football. He was initially ruled down on the field, but the play was reviewed and ultimately overturned. LSU took over at its 34 with 1:59 left in the half and drove 66 yards in five plays for Jordan Jefferson's 9-yard touchdown pass to a slanting Russell Shepard, giving the Tigers a 21-14 lead. They scored all three of their touchdowns in the final 5:15 of the second quarter.
Player of the half: Tyrann Mathieu, starting at safety in place of the injured Eric Reid, had a hand in two of the Tigers’ three touchdowns. His 92-yard punt return for a touchdown made it a 14-14 game, and Mathieu is the one who stripped the ball from Johnson on the Hogs’ next offensive possession. Ron Brooks recovered, leading to the Tigers’ go-ahead touchdown.
Stat of the half: The two teams have combined for five touchdowns, which is already five more than was scored in LSU’s 9-6 overtime win against Alabama on Nov. 5.
Stat of the half II: The two quarterbacks -- Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson and LSU’s Jefferson -- were a combined 20-of-27 in the first half.
Of note: Both teams scored non-offensive touchdowns. In addition to Mathieu’s punt return, Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.